Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that every Indian ‘deserves the chance to a safe life’ as the government stressed the need to cover the most vulnerable population first in vaccination drive and that the vaccinations will not be opened up to a wider group anytime soon amid the surge in coronavirus cases across the nation.

The Congress leader, with the hashtag #CovidVaccine tweeted, “It’s ridiculous to debate needs & wants. Every Indian deserves the chance to a safe life.”

The Central government has stressed the need to vaccinate the vulnerable group first even as Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal have urged the centre for widening the nationwide drive to cover most adults.

The Union Health Ministry said that some groups were prioritised due to the limited supply of the vaccine.

The government has said that Covid-appropriate behaviour and containment measures are the way out to fight the surge in Covid cases. NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said, “When the time comes to open it to all, then we will.”

“The intensity of the pandemic has increased and it is spreading faster than last time. In some states, it (the condition) is worse than others but the upswing (in cases) can be observed across the country,” he said.

Covid-19 is spreading at a fast pace with an increase in the intensity of the pandemic and the next four weeks are going to be very critical, the Centre said on Tuesday as it stressed on people’s participation to control the second wave of the contagion.

NITI Aayog Member VK Paul said, “People’s participation is vital to control the second wave. The next four weeks are going to very critical. The entire country has to come together and make efforts to fight the pandemic.”

India started vaccinating the healthcare and frontline workers first and then to people above 60 and those over 45 with other illnesses. Now, all above 45 are being vaccinated. India has vaccinated over eight crore people so far.

The country has recorded over 1.15 lakh new Covid cases in the last 24 hours, the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began last year.